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  • Writer's pictureBedford Driver

Turns | Steering | Intersections

Updated: 7 days ago


There’s a lot going on when you’re first learning to drive especially when it comes to making turns. Your right foot is working the pedals, both hands are steering, and your eyes are constantly scanning the driving environment. It takes the same level of coordination as a drummer in a band.

A drummer uses their left hand to play the snare drum, right hand and left foot for the high hat, and their right foot for the base drum. Add in a band, and now you must not only maintain rhythm and coordination but they must also maintain sync and flow with the rest of the band. Similarly in traffic a driver must learn how to control the vehicle while turning.

Lars Ulrich Drum Solo

A rolling turn is one of the more difficult maneuvers to perfect with good flow. First you approach the turn at a safe speed for how sharp it is while maintaining a steady pressure on the brake or gas pedal depending on whether it’s an uphill or downhill turn. Your signal light must be activated before you apply the brakes, then the steering wheel must be turned smoothly while maintaining seamless flow and control. All of these steps are performed together so it can be a lot all at once.

Like everything in driving, the trick is to slow your turns down and perfect them with good flow. Remember that for rolling turns you have to shoulder check 200 - 300 feet out from the turn. This ensures that if there is a cyclist riding beside you in your blind spot you'll see them before beginning your turn and avoid hitting them. Shoulder checking well before your rolling turn also makes it much easier to focus on the intersection as you approach.

Slow it down break it apart and perfect that flow.

How To Properly Use Your Turn Signals: How Far Ahead Should You Signal, When To Use Them, And Why

Turn signals are one of the only ways that drivers have to communicate with each other while in traffic. When other drivers around you know what you're doing that makes you and them safer.


For the best steering control you should hold the wheel from the outside with your thumbs resting on the outside of the wheel. This is how you have to hold the steering wheel on your road test.

How To Hold The Steering Wheel

Once you have your fulls you can put your thumbs on the inside of the steering wheel as most wheels will have slots on the sides to give you better grip. They're located at the 9-3 position and every professional race car driver holds their steering wheel like this.

Hand Over Hand Steering

Use the drain covers in the center of an intersection to mark the point at which you start to steering for your turn. This ensures that you'll be perfectly lined up with your new lane as you exit the turn.

Counter Steering

This video is more specific to race track driving but the concepts of how to control a vehicle and steer in a slide are the same.

The Difference Between Oversteer and Understeer


Intersections are a lot like the internet in the sense that they're the place that all drivers are forced to interact and communicate with each another.

Stay in your lane while turning through an intersection.

Stops Signs

Stop before the line. If there is no line then stop before the sign.

Many of the stop signs in Halifax are blocked by trees, bushes, and other traffic signs.

The stop sign at Morall Crt in the Kingswood subdivision is completely blocked by a tree

Never Speed Up At An Intersection

I used to ride a sport bike and one thing I can tell you is you have to ride like everyone else in traffic is trying to kill you. In the video below the rider is approaching an intersection at too fast of a speed. Motorcycles are a lot smaller than cars which makes them much harder to spot. Always drive at a consistent speed when driving through an intersection.

Green Lights

Left turns on solid green lights

You have to yield to the vehicles driving straight through the intersection when waiting to turn left on a solid green light. Left turns on solid green lights can be dangerous so take your time.

Intersections And Left Hand Turns; Take your time

  • SOLID GREEN - You can turn left on a solid green light but yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic driving straight through the intersection.

  • FLASHING GREEN - You have the right-of-way to turn left right or continue straight.

  • GREEN ARROW - You have the right of way in the direction of the arrow.

Intersection tips

  • Never trust anyone’s signal light. Wait until the vehicle actually slows down.

  • If you make a mistake at an intersection, just wave and smile.

  • Always scan an intersection from left to right as you approach to ensure that no one is running a red light. This is extremely important.

  • The first vehicle in line waiting to turn left on a solid green light should be in the intersection.

  • Hold the steering wheel straight so that if you get rear ended you won't be pushed into oncoming traffic.

  • Stay in the lane you chose before the intersection because it's illegal and super dangerous to change lanes at or near an intersection.

Red Lights

  • STEADY RED - You can make a right turn at a red light after you stop, unless there is a sign saying you can't.

  • FLASHING RED - Is the same as an all way stop.

Watch Out For Red Light Runners

Some motorists run red lights because they don't care to stop, but most tend to confuse the set of traffic lights further ahead of them with the ones directly in front of them. Always make sure that you are looking at the traffic lights for the intersection you're entering into. This is very common in Upper Tantallon because there are multiple sets of traffic lights all in a row so it's easy to confuse them. It's so common that the Nova Scotia Government had to install traffic cameras.

Cameras on, but nobody watching; newly installed cameras used for traffic sensors

Red Light Runners In Halifax

Yellow Lights

There are a number of ways that a driver can read traffic lights as they approach an intersection which can help with figuring out if the light will turn yellow or not. One way to do this is to watch the pedestrian light because most times it will begin to countdown on it. Most times when the countdown finishes, the lights will turn yellow but not in all cases.

  • STEADY YELLOW - Be prepared to stop. A steady yellow light means the traffic signal is about to turn red.

  • FLASHING YELLOW - Drive with caution and only stop if you have to.

Stop for a yellow light unless you're too close to the intersection to stop safely. Never speed up for a yellow light.

Yellow lights and committing

Yellow lights are hard to judge at first but a good practice is to imagine any solid green light that you're approaching is going to turn yellow. Anticipate the change and ask yourself where you think the point of no return or commitment point is. You can also use the solid white line which is painted between the lanes at the intersection to judge where your commitment point is. This line indicates that drivers shouldn't change lanes at an intersection and it's a perfect tool to use in order to figure out when to commit. If you are at or close to the speed limit then when you reach the start of this line you will most times be able to proceed through the light. Don't just make it a policy to stop every time. One of my students was practicing and stopped for a yellow light that she shouldn't have stopped for. Then she got stuck in the intersection after the light went red and a road rage incident took place. Be confident.

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